Harle Syke artist’s ‘subversive’ sculptures cause a stir in London

RISING STAR: Sculpture and work by Burnley artist Dan Crosby (22). (s)
RISING STAR: Sculpture and work by Burnley artist Dan Crosby (22). (s)

A PRODIGIOUS young artist from Burnley is hoping to make it big in London with his striking artwork.

Dan Crosby, of Harle Syke, is only 22, but already his “subversive” sculptures and installations are turning heads in the art world.

PRODIGY: Dan Crosby (22) from Harle Syke is hoping to take London by storm with his art. (s)

PRODIGY: Dan Crosby (22) from Harle Syke is hoping to take London by storm with his art. (s)

The former Gawthorpe and Burnley College student, who experiments with everything from old camcorders to stuffed squirrels, is preparing to exhibit his work at London’s up-and-coming Mouton Noir gallery.

He said: “The gallery was calling for submissions and they were really interested in what I’m doing and what I have got to say.

“I have had a lot of mixed reaction, but people seem to enjoy my work. They seem to find it interesting and people are always asking questions. I am looking forward to it.”

The Manchester Metropolitan University student, who graduated with a first-class degree, has been delving into the darker side of life with his art.

He describes his work as “hacking into the nervous system” of the audience – fusing mannequins, machinery, coloured orbs, dissected cameras and even glass eyes – which he says hints at the parallels of violence and popular culture.

“I use objects that insinuate abhorrence. There is nothing truly explicit in my work. But the insinuations are quite powerful.

“It is a mix of pop culture and reality. I hope people do walk away and realise that it is real – that there is abhorrence in the world.

“If people were offended by my work it means my art is working and they understand that bad things are happening in the world.”

Dan has come a long way since his school days of drawing shells in GCSE art classes and is revelling in the opportunity to fully express himself.

“I enjoyed Burnley College and Manchester Met, but I’m glad I am out of it. It is really difficult I find. It is almost restrained. There is a lot of pressure to stick to the criteria.

“There is a lot more freedom now – I can do what I want to do.

“I’m not doing it for any reward or certificate, I’m actually doing it because I want to. I feel I’m actually motivating myself to go further with it and see how far I can go.”

Already he has had several successful gallery shows in Manchester – but now he is setting his sights on London – the beating heart of art in Britain.

His latest work is looking at the human relationship with objects and he hopes to take over the Mouton Noir with his sculptures and installations. His will to succeed is evident, but his desire to do something different really shines through.

“I find that no one seems to get involved in an idea any more – there is nothing to it. There is no mysticism in it. Artist like Tracy Emin and Sarah Lucas – the really successful artists – are doing nothing new.

“To make a career out of art is difficult, but for me its not about the money it is all about the art. I would not do it for any other reason. It is always going to be a struggle but it is worth it. Success is knowing that you’re happy with yourself.”